With just 50 days until the COP 26 (Conference of the Parties), Validair was invited to attend a very poignant ‘Journey to Net Zero event for Businesses’ with Harriet Baldwin MP, hosted at Worcestershire’s famous Morgan Motor Company in Malvern.
The exciting event included an opening network area with refreshments and comprised a unique collection of local businesses all interested in this significant topic. After being called to be seated, Harriet Baldwin MP initiated the talks with information on the guest speakers, on Morgan Motors themselves, and emphasised the topicality and importance of the event. The Speakers included:
These presentations were followed by real business questions, opinions, and success stories of local companies’ journeys so far pursuing the goal of Net Zero.
Before a final opportunity to submit questions, a panel discussion took place, chaired by Margot James, Executive Chair, Warwickshire Manufacturing Group. The panellists were:
Steve Morris began by talking about Morgan Motors. His passion and love for the company were clear, as was his ambition to meet and even exceed the Net Zero requirements on businesses proposed by parliament. He then gave a very honest description of his and the rest of the team’s experience at Morgan Motors so far with implementing a plan to reach Net Zero, highlighting the challenges encountered and those they are still dealing with.
Like many MPs, Andrew Griffith came in with lots of exaggerated arm movements! However, this was supported by a relatable small-business-minded touch. He explained the why, the how, and mostly the importance of starting the Net Zero journey whilst being optimistic about the process.
Arguably, Luke Willetts was the most surprising speaker of the morning. If, like me, you were unaware of Worcestershire’s achievements with its WLEP strategy to date and its stated goals by 2040, it turns out that in this context we should be very proud of the area we live in. It’s clear that the “clean green nature” of Worcestershire is in our blood and not just our idyllic landscape and views.
There were lots of like-minded companies attending, some taking their first tentative steps towards achieving Net Zero. But there were others who wanted to share their experiences and inspire those just starting their journeys. This resulted in plenty of pertinent questions from the attendees, which were met with very descriptive responses by all speakers as well as the continued reinforcement that help is out there and that many organisations are ready and willing to support companies throughout this process.
Harriet Baldwin MP closed the proceedings with some final words and expressed our collective gratitude to the expert speakers and to Morgan Motor Company for generously hosting the event.
The main points I took away from the day were these…
As a business, there are things we are already doing at VMSL to help that perhaps we don’t even realise, such as motion sensor lighting, our recycling initiatives, the way our partner TSI Inc. manufactures its products and the materials used.
Our MD, Steve Wake, added to the insight by pointing out changes in business and management practices initially prompted by the pandemic but that have since become accepted company behaviour, helping to reduce our carbon footprint and contributing to our Net Zero goal.
Steve lives on the South Coast and explains: “Remote workers like me and Mike Pemberton, for example, were travelling every week and staying in hotels for a couple of nights each time. Now I only travel once a month and connect by video when I need to, and Mike only travels when it’s impossible to do what he needs to do remotely. It saves us time and cost. It’s a real-world example of how the pandemic has actually helped us to reduce our carbon footprint.”
There is a lot of informative material available to businesses through local MPs such as a 10-point plan for the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ as well as more resources on the topic openly available to the public.
Despite news reports of the construction of new coal-fired power stations, it turns out that China is leading the way in Net Zero. There are already Net Zero cities being built in the country. But don’t worry, the UK is the strongest nation amongst those with initiatives already in place and each day we inch closer to reaching our targets.
I wonder how many local Worcestershire companies are doing their bit and already well underway on their journey to Net Zero? What’s certain is that there will be lots of exciting developments in the near future all across Worcestershire County.
Finally, I want to share a key ‘tangible’ fact that really hit home for me. For example, if you drive a relatively low emission car for 10,000 miles a year, which is pretty reasonable, you are producing two tonnes of CO2 per year. This is about the same amount of CO2 used to heat an average sized house for 12 months. So, if two adults share a house and both travel 10,000 miles each year, they could be producing six tonnes of CO2 per year. Yes, six tonnes! I can visualise that and found it astonishing. It highlights why everyone should be on board with this initiative and that there is no better time to begin.
There really is no reason to delay. Start your journey to Net Zero now.
By Paige Martin. Technical Sales Specialist.